Students work from home using a hybrid day option
By Kaitlyn Resline
It is morning in the early fall inside a high school classroom. School is in session. A classroom in prior years would typically seat 25-30. This year a typical class seats 15.
But on this typical morning, only about eight students are actually present. The rest of the students are taking a hybrid day, one of the Red Lion Area School District’s solutions in the 2020-21 school year for students being able to learn part time online.
According to assistant principal Ms. Dana Schmidt hybrid days are to be used to keep up with schoolwork if a student has been instructed to quarantine due to COVID-19, has been exposed to COVID-19, or is awaiting a test for COVID-19.
Senior Mera D’Aquila follows a self-made hybrid day schedule for the week. She typically takes hybrid days Wednesdays and Fridays, but she will come in for tests. She finds that hybrid days help her focus and get more work done.
“I like the flexibility of being able to work at my own pace on certain days,” D’Aquila said. “I think it’s very stressful coming into school sometimes because, obviously, I’m worried about the pandemic. I’m worried about getting my parents sick.”
Braden Reese de Leon, also a senior, has not taken any hybrid days. She thinks it is a good option that the school considered just in case it is needed, but she does not plan to use this option.
“A hybrid day would affect my ability to learn because I would get too distracted at home to do my work,” de Leon said. “Also, it’s likely that I would be bothered a lot if I was learning at home.”
She admits that she does know people who take hybrid days to sleep in or get out of tests. Tests are a big concern for the teachers as well.
“It’s difficult to assess students, if they’re not coming into the building,” Ms. Schmidt said. “So, that’s our biggest issue at the moment.”
D’Aquila feels that she uses hybrid days responsibly and always makes sure to get her work in on time. She said she personally would not feel right using hybrid days to take off or go on vacation.
According to district officials, students are expected to treat hybrid days as work days, including checking in to Google Classroom and attempting all work by midnight that night. If they do not show any accountability for their attendance and work that day, the absence will be marked unexcused.
If students are taking a hybrid day, they need to go into Skyward and select the hybrid day option. This notifies the school that the student is taking a hybrid day. Then, the student should email their teachers to notify them about their hybrid day.
Hybrid days differentiate between remote learning because with remote learning, students receive synchronous instruction and check in with teachers to keep on pace with the curriculum, according to Ms. Schmidt. With hybrid learning, teachers only have to put the assignments on Google Classroom; they do not have to make videos of their lessons.
D’Aquila says her hybrid experience varies from teacher to teacher. Some will post videos of their lectures and notes, which she finds very helpful, while others will barely post anything, if at all.
The Coronavirus pandemic has changed both schools and students’ experiences.
“We want to make sure that kids feel safe, families feel safe, so hybrid days are okay, we just want to make sure that everyone understands the differences,” Ms. Schmidt said. “And, I mean, nothing really replaces being in class with the teacher.”